Teaching Creationism in Schools
The question as to whether or not creationism should be taught in public schools is a very emotional and complex question. It can be looked at from several different angles, its validity being one of them. Despite the lack of evidence to support the fundamentalist idea of creationism, that in itself is not enough to warrant its exclusion from the curriculum of public schools in the United States. The question is far more involved and complex.
One way to address the question is whether or not creationism, in itself, is a valid idea to be taught in public schools. The answer to this can be yes. Not only should a student in American public schools learn and acquire knowledge in empirical sciences, and other tangible facts both in history and other courses, but he should also learn how to think and make decisions for himself. Unfortunately, as it turns out, creationism is in direct conflict with the biological theory of evolution. Many fundamentalist propose that creationism should replace, or at least be offered as an alternative to Darwins theory of evolution.
This is not the right approach. Creationism, as exemplified in the book of Genesis, should not be taught in a science course. Science runs on a certain set of rules and principles being: (1) it is guided by natural law, (2) it has to be explanatory by reference to natural law, (3) its conclusions lack finality and therefore may be altered or changed, (4) it is also testable against the empirical world, and finally (5) it is falsefiable. These characteristics define the laws, boundaries, and guidelines that science follows. In a science course, all knowledge conveyed is shown, or has been shown in the past, to exemplify a strict adherence to these qualities. Creationism, unfortunately in the eyes of Christian fundamentalist, does not exemplify any adherence whatsoever to these rules and guidelines of science. Therefore, it should not be included in the science curriculum in public schools, even as an alternative to evolution.
Another idea is that which is held by those who subscribe to the idea of scientific creationism. Scientific creationism, as it relates to this topic, states that God was the creator, and that evolution is simply a means, developed by Him, of conservation. Due to this definition of how scientific creationism relates to evolution, it may be easier to accept by scientific criteria, despite the fact that the origins are scientifically debatable.
The problem in scientific creationism, and what I see as a reason for its exclusion from the science classroom in public schools, is the fact that it looks as if, from the outside, the whole theory that it rest on is simply a contortion of the traditional version of creation described in Genesis, custom-made to fit in with Darwins theory of evolution. R. M. Hare would probably say that scientific creationism is simply a modification of the story of creation in Genesis, to fit into the blik of the religious fundamentalist. A blik, as Hare describes it, is a pre-set world view held by all people, in which they draw from when forming certain opinions on any particular subject. In the case of religious fundamentalist, whos faith in the validity of the Book of Genesis is an essential part of their blik, it becomes necessary for them to contort their literal view of the Book of Genesis into a form that is scientifically acceptable. For this reason, creation science still does not have a place in the science classroom of public schools.
Another problem with scientific creationism is that it would exclude the idea of a random beginning. No theory could ever be tested to find origins because it would conflict with scientific creationism. Scientific creationism would be, in essence, a lesson on science halting efforts to find creation, if it is possible at all. It may, however, be acceptable as a theory and not a solid law.
Now that it is clear that creationism, as well as scientific creationism, does not fit into the guidelines on which science operates, therefore making them unsuitable for teaching in science classrooms in public schools, in what part of the public school curriculum in